Ever sat through a sermon like that? Ever preached a sermon like that?
Here is an excerpt from my upcoming book "Preach Like a Train Driver"
“Preach like a train driver?”
“YES! Preach like a train driver!”
If you ever need to catch a train – then you know we all need train drivers. We place our lives in their hands every time we travel. They are hard-working, and no doubt honourable men and women. But if you’ve ever listened to a PA announcement on a train – you might well be thinking that public speaking is not exactly their strong point!
But a train driver might be more of a model for preaching than you imagine. In its simplest terms, a train-driver’s job is this: to take their passengers to the right destination. That’s what you depend on them to do. That is their strong point!
Great bible talks will take their listeners to a destination worth going to. Of all the brilliant messages I have heard over all these years, the ones that really impacted me were the ones that took me to a destination where I needed to go. Maybe before the message I didn’t realise that I needed to go to that destination, but the speaker knew what station to call at to collect me; they knew how to engage me so I wanted to travel on their train; they stopped me getting off before my journey was completed; and because they faithfully took me to a godly destination, my life was changed forever.
Does this ring true for you? Have you ever heard any great sermons? Life-changing messages that marked a significant spiritual step for you? Think about these bible talks for a moment. These are the messages that took you where God wanted you to go. A great message always has a great destination!
On the other hand, you’ve probably heard enough messages that took you absolutely nowhere. Maybe the preacher had all the right information; maybe they had a sound theology; maybe they knew their bible well; maybe they told really funny stories … but they took you nowhere! There was no destination; there was no journey; no-one’s life got changed. You never want to proclaim a message like that!
The most significant thing I have ever learned in preaching is that no matter what I am saying, my aim is to take my listeners to a Goid-given destination. This revolutionised my thinking! If I don’t take my listeners to a destination that is worth going to, then I have wasted their time. The essence of any journey is that you take people to a worthwhile destination.
Why do people go on a journey? Any journey? OK – sometimes they are train buffs and just want to ride a grand old steam engine. But most of the time – it’s the destination that compels people to take a journey. They want to go to work; they want to see the wonders of the world; they want to be reunited with their long lost friend; they want to witness their favourite team play; they simply want to get home.
That’s why people travel. Not because of the train, the bus, the boat or the plane. It’s the destination that motivates them for the journey.
“People are buying the destination – not the plane”
Many bible teachers like to polish up their train. You know - great stories, video clips, funny moments, dynamic PowerPoints, emotional cliff-hangers. You can practise and hone your craft until it reaches the heights of dizzy excellence (which might not be a bad idea!). But if you preach like a train driver, people are not listening because your train means something to them - they are listening because your destination is somewhere where they desperately need to go. The essence of being a good train driver is that you can persuade people that your train is worth getting on, and then take them convincingly to a God-given destination which will be life-changing.
Stay tuned ...
To pre-order "Preach Like a Train Driver", click this link.
See also the companion book for professional speakers:
"Speak Like a Train Driver" - More info